Interesting post from Elizaphanian (Rev Sam Norton) …. in which after using “Rev” (Smallbone) as a parable for the church times and generally confirming the line that we are a Christian country, Sam is also moved to suggest:
… it has long been part of the self-identity of the Church of England that we are the ‘official’ church in this country. This is legally true – that is what establishment means – yet I am more and more persuaded that this part of our self-identity is ultimately idolatrous, and gets in the way of our proper discipleship and growth in faith.
Which is interestingly what I quoted Clive James saying here.
… the Anglican Church would have done better to seize the first opportunity of disestablishing itself. However tenuous, its official connection to the state has been enough to saddle it with the doomed ambition of maximising its popular audience, like a television channel in desperate search of more viewers who eat crisps.
… no religion we know about is capable of allying itself to the state without working to the destruction of liberty. Less commonly noted is that it will also work to the destruction of itself, by trivialising its own teachings, or rendering them obnoxious in the attempt to impose them legally, instead of by exhortation, example and witness.